Susan Lerch, Staff Attorney for Courtroom Advocacy Project

Susan came to PBRC in 2020. She is a Staff Attorney for the Courtroom Advocacy Project, PBRC’s limited-scope courthouse-based pro bono clinics for consumers and tenants in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. She enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, and hiking. 

Where did you grow up? Salisbury, MD.

What brought you to Maryland/Baltimore? Aside from 4 years of college in Virginia, I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life.

I have been working in courts in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Anne Arundel County my whole career.

Where did you go to school and what was your major/focus? Virginia Wesleyan University for college, University of Baltimore for graduate school and law school.

What are your interests/hobbies? Reading, gardening, cooking, and hiking.

What were you doing prior to working here? I worked for a Domestic Violence Legal Clinic representing the victims of domestic violence in protective order cases.

What do you do at PBRC? I am a staff attorney for the Courtroom Advocacy Project. I work in Baltimore City rent court and staff the Consumer Protective Clinics in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City.

What is your proudest accomplishment? [Professional? Non-professional?] My proudest non-work accomplishment is that I have 3 absolutely amazing children. I also find it to be extremely rewarding to use my education and experience to help others. We are facing a housing crisis in this country that is devastating so many families. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is working to help these folks remain in their homes, deal with consumer debt, and prevent homelessness.

What is a quote that inspires you to do the work you do? “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg

What has been your most meaningful experience with PBRC? I recall a woman dressed in her nursing scrubs that I helped in rent court one afternoon. I was working on another case in the hallway so I didn’t have a chance to speak to her before her case was called. She and the landlord were present when the case was called. After hearing a little from them, the Judge suggested the tenant and landlord go into the hallway to see if they could work things out. I followed the woman into the hallway and asked if she would like to talk to me about her case. With the help of our paralegal, we quickly did an intake, retainer and researched her address. We discovered the property was not licensed. Armed with this knowledge I was able to negotiate a very favorable settlement with the landlord. After court, she told me with tears in her eyes how much I had helped.

What sets PBRC apart in your mind? PBRC is a unique place. I truly feel honored to be part of this fabulous Courtroom Advocacy Project Team. All of the staff are tremendously supportive as we work towards a common goal of helping others, while also engaging, training, and mentoring volunteer lawyers.

Who has had a big impact on your life? My Grandmother. She received a Master’s in Chemistry from Mt. Holyoke College in 1933. She had a very practical approach to life and devoted much of her life to service and volunteerism. She was elected the first woman President of the (Washington D.C. Capital Area) United Way in 1983. My Grandfather was an attorney, so she was thrilled when I decided to go to law school. She lived a very long and exceptionally healthy life, only passing away in 2013 at the age of 103. She enjoyed helping others, just as I do.